Sunday, July 15, 2007

Taken Into Custody

In solidarity Mike and Stephen .

Mike McManus has written a column featuring my
forthcoming book, Taken Into Custody (see below).
Mike is a prominent columnist and founder of the
highly respected Marriage Savers, which is devoted to
(and successful at) rescuing marriages from the
horrors of the divorce industry. Yet I cannot find
that a single newspaper has printed the column.
(Something similar happened last year when Mike wrote
a column on John Murtari's arrest and incarceration.)

Mike McManus is, along with Phyllis Schlafly, the most
eminent figure to publicly align himself with the
cause of shared parenting and against the injustices
of family courts by actively writing about it. We
must encourage him and other respected public figures
to enlist themselves with us by showing that their
effort is not in vain.

If you have contacts with newspaper editors, please
urge them to publish this column. You should call the
Op Ed or Editorial Page editor and say why the column
should be published before sending it. If interested
the editor should call Mike at 301 469-5870.



June 20, 2007
Column #1,347
"Taken Into Custody"
by Mike McManus

Father's Day was not joyful for millions of fathers
who had a divorce forced upon them, whose children
were "taken into custody" by the mother who filed for
the divorce.

Indeed, Stephen Baskerville is a father who feels
"taken into custody," since he can't see his children,
when it's not authorized. For example, Father's Day
fell on a weekend when he did not have custody.
Fortunately, one daughter had a piano recital, and he
was able to attend and chat with her and her sister
for a few minutes afterward. That was his Father's

Baskerville has written an important book not yet
released by Cumberland House, "Taken Into Custody: The
War Against Fatherhood, Marriage and the Family."

He purposely does not tell his own story, because he
doesn't want to be dismissed as an angry father.
However, as the President of the American Coalition
for Fathers and Children, he has a national
perspective on what happens to perhaps 700,000 fathers
a year, 7 million in a decade, when their wives file
for divorce.

Very few fathers file for divorce Why? Consider
Massachusetts, where custody is granted to the father
in only 2.5 percent of cases, but the mother gets it
93.4 percent of the time, and joint custody is
permitted in only 4 percent. In a divorce, fathers
lose regular access to their children.

However, even if the mother is an adulterer, who moved
in with a boy friend, fathers lose their kids thanks
to "No Fault" divorce laws in which the court won't
consider who is at fault. Why not? Surely, in this
case, the father would be the better parent. "No
matter how faithless," writes Bryce Christensen, "a
wife who files for divorce can count on the state as
an ally."

The court says it is acting in "the best interest of
the child." What rot. The best interest of the child
would be served by the court telling the couple to
work out their differences, leaving the child with a
married mother and father.

That virtually never happens. Whoever files for
divorce always gets it. There is no defense. The U.S.
Bill of Rights supposedly protects citizens against
being "deprived of life, liberty or property, without
due process of law."

Where is "due process" if a divorce is always granted?

"The advent of No Fault divorce in the early
1970s...has left fathers with no protection against
the confiscation of their children," writes
Baskerville. As this column has argued, No Fault
should be called Unilateral Divorce, because what was
entered into by two people is typically ended when one
spouse calls a lawyer.

"The result effectively ended marriage as a legal
contract. Today it is not possible to form a binding
agreement to create a family," argues Baskerville.

Children need the protection of that law for at least
20 years.

Children of divorce are three times as likely to be
expelled from school or to get pregnant as a child
from intact parents, and are five times as apt to live
in poverty.

Arguably, the whole of Western civilization is built
upon the enforcability of contract law. "A society
without contracts lives in mud huts, except for
dictators. A contract is needed for people to
cooperate to build something larger than themselves,"
says attorney John Crouch.

But when a spouse's feelings change, the solemn oath
"till death us do part," is worthless. What's more,
the law takes the side of the miscreants and punishes
their victims.

A typical father sees his kids every other weekend. He
must move from his own house, rent another, and often
pay confiscatory child support. Baskerville paid 65
percent of his $38,000 income as a Howard University
professor. He still pays for day care for children,
aged 10 and 14, who don't go.

If he doesn't pay, he can be jailed, without a trial.

Why not ask the court to lift the day care charge? "It
would cost me $10,000 to go back to court. And going
back to court is risky. It could take away my right to
see my children."

Baskerville makes a case that the "divorce industry"
of lawyers, court-appointed psychologists, and judges
who depend on them for campaign contributions and
state legislators who are often divorce attorneys -
will never reform itself.

The only hope is if religious leaders fight for
change. The Catholic bishops have been considering
the marriage issue for two years, but are not calling
for divorce reform. They are issuing TV spots
endorsing marriage.

How lovely and how irrelevant.

Copyright (c) 2007 Michael J. McManus


Stephen Baskerville, PhD
American Coalition for Fathers & Children
1718 M Street, NW, Suite 187
Washington, DC 20036

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